This article was adapted from our latest book, “Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons.” Download your free pdf copy today.

In 2010, the city of Montevideo, Uruguay passed a resolution to make all data processed by the city administration (and not subject to privacy concerns) public. Since the resolution was enacted, an open-data portal was launched and over 50 datasets are now freely available. To bypass the burden of building its own new portal, Montevideo uses the national open-data portal that has been built upon the open-source software CKAN developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation, a global standard which is easily replicable. This policy spurred the development of many new apps that are using the data in both traditional and original ways. Public transport timetables, a map facilitating bicycle commuting, an app showing what taxes are spent on, and tools for finding recycling bins are joined by other, more unexpected uses, like a map showing that only 10 percent of streets are named after women. This is surely just the beginning; as additional data becomes available, new innovative applications will be sure to follow.

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Header image by Renzo Olivieri via flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Adrien Labaeye


Adrien Labaeye

Adrien is an action researcher working from Berlin on commoning at the intersection of the urban and digital spaces. His research looks at the role of collaborative mapping in

Things I share: Ideas, research, mapping skills, working space, flat, board games.